Matthew Morrison gives classic songs his own twist on his new album, Where It All Began.
When he was 10 years old, matthew morrison took a trip that would change his life forever. While visiting family in Phoenix, the future actor, singer and star of the hit show Glee discovered his gift.
“My Arizona family got me and my cousin in a children’s theater, and we did our own musical called The Herdsmen Go to Camp,” Morrison says. “I got one of the leads and had to sing a lot. I found my voice.”
From there, he began doing musical theater and children’s theater in his hometown of Fort Ord, Calif. He went on to perform in high school and briefly attended New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts before landing his first Broadway show, an adaptation of Footloose, when he was just 19.
A decade and a half later, the now-34-year-old is releasing his second solo album, Where It All Began (222 Records, $10). The record showcases the talent he unearthed as a youngster and shows off weekly on Glee. When it came to choosing songs for the album, he pulled from the classic standards he grew up listening to, including “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” and “Younger Than Springtime.”
“I went through the catalog of pretty much every single Broadway show that was ever created and narrowed it down to my top 15 songs,” he says. “These are songs that I love singing, performing and that I think would be good songs to actually dance to as well.”
A high point for Morrison came in the California studio where he recorded, in the same place, with the same microphone, as one of his heroes. “We went into Capitol Records where Frank Sinatra did a lot of his recordings,” Morrison says. “I recorded on the microphone that he actually used, so I got a lot of inspiration from that.”
Began is the first record to be released on 222 Records, a label started by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. Looking back on making the album, Morrison’s grateful to have worked with Levine, who, as an artist himself, appreciates Morrison’s need for creative independence. “They’ve really kind of let me have free reign on what I want to do,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of fun.”